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Expressing Anger


Anger is a human emotion, common to all of us. But the way we each deal with anger varies a lot. On one extreme are the people who are aggressive, who love a fight and can’t wait to get down and dirty with anyone – yelling and swearing at a friend, lover, relative, or the guy who was late delivering pizza. The appeal of venting anger like that is the adrenaline rush, the feeling of power, and the way it usually intimidates the person on the receiving end.


On the other extreme are the people who are passive aggressive. They are the ones who will say they “never get angry” because they don’t raise their voices, yell, swear, etc. But, if you are passive-aggressive or know anyone who is, you know that what they do expresses anger too. The passive-aggressive person pulls back into silence and a cold distance. If you ask “What’s wrong?” they will answer “Nothing” but their tone of voice, facial expression and body language tell the true story. They are mad!


Neither of these methods works well between people (especially if you live together or work together) because nothing gets communicated except the anger and the desire to punish. Behind anger is also hurt and misunderstanding. When those more nuanced feelings are brought out and expressed there is better communication, and a better chance to resolve conflicts.


There is a middle-ground – a way to express anger which is firm, but not abusive nor passive-aggressive. Therapy can help you to develop the ability to express yourself in a way that allows you to be heard and understood.